All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: Mobile | May 31, 2011 - 05:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hp, elitebook, 15.6 inch
The The HP Elitebook 8560p is designed for the professional roadie who needs a fairly power CPU to run productivity software, and can afford the $1500 price tag. Inside the 15.6" laptop you will find a dual core Core i7-2620M which provides half of the graphical power, a discreet AMD Radeon 6470M is available for 3D performance thanks to Virtu. TechReviewSource liked the external peripheral choices but were not terribly impressed with the gaming performance of the 6470M, judge for yourself by following the link.
"The HP Elitebook 8560p is a powerhouse, as its 15.6-inch widescreen and top-of-the-line parts are there for powering through the most difficult tasks. And a modern look, thanks to a new aluminum design, doesn't hurt either."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus U36JC Review @ TechReviewSource
- Battle of the Budget Tablets - Nook Color vs. Galaxy Tab @ AnandTech
- Cooler Master LapAir Laptop Cooler @ Pro-Clockers
- LEVEL8 Products Macbook Air Sleeve @ Benchmark Reviews
- Griffin Outfit Ice iPhone 4 Case Review @ ThinkComputers
- HTC Flyer Tablet Review @ TechReviewSource
- Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" - Mobile IE 9 Browser Explored @ AnandTech
- Nokia E7: A Swansong @ InsideHW
- HTC Incredible S Mobile Phone Review @ t-break
- Samsung Galaxy Ace review @ The Inquirer
Subject: Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2011 - 06:01 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ultrabook, Medfield, Ivy Bridge, Intel, haswell, computex, atom
With the release of the Intel Z68 chipset behind us by several weeks, Intel spent the opening keynote at Computex 2011 creating quite a buzz in the mobility section of the computing world. Intel’s Executive Vice President Sean Maloney took the stage on Tuesday and announced what Intel is calling a completely new category of mobile computer, the “Ultrabook”. A term coined by Intel directly, the Ultrabook will “marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design.”
If this photo looks familiar...see the similarity?
Intel is so confident in this new segment of the market that will fall between the tablet and notebook that they are predicting that by the time we reach the end of 2012 it will represent 40% of Intel’s processor shipments. That is an incredibly bold claim considering how massive and how dominate Intel is in the processor field. Intel plans to reach this 40% goal by addressing the Ultrabook market in three phases, the first of which will begin with ultra-low-power versions of today’s Sandy Bridge processors. Using this technology Maloney says we will see notebooks less than 0.8 inches thin and for under $1,000.
Make sure you "Read More" for the full story!!
Subject: Systems, Mobile | May 31, 2011 - 04:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultraportable, padfone, meego, computex, asus, Android
Asus is starting their Computex 2011 showing off strong with a bevy of product announcements. Most of their new products fall into their mobile lineup. The new mobile devices include a thin MeeGo OS powered Netbook, an ultralight Core i7 laptop, a new 3D Eee Pad, the MeMO 3D, and a phone-docking tablet dubbed the “Padfone.” Beyond the mobile market, the company has further announced a home entertainment media hub, and an All-In-One ET2700XVT desktop computer.
On the mobile front, and notebooks specifically, Asus has announced new N and UX series notebooks. The N series notebooks focus on incorporating higher fidelity speakers into a laptop chassis than is standard. The latest N models include a dedicated and external subwoofer to bring “deep bass extension that would otherwise be possible,” according to Asus. The audio technology in question has been developed by Asus and David Lewis has been dubbed SonicMaster. This same audio technology is also integrated into their new AIO desktop, which you can read about below.
The UX series is Asus’ ultraportable laptop lineup. Measuring 17mm at its thickest point, 2.4 pound aluminum ally body houses a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7 processor and a SATA 6 Gb/s SSD. Asus further claims that the laptop features an “Instant On” feature that is capable of resuming the laptop from sleep states in seconds. The newest UX21 model is a silver colored aluminum body housing a glossy display, large track pad, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and likely a non-user replaceable battery. The device is very slim and appears to be very competitive against Apple’s MacBook Air.
The last addition to their mobile lineup is a MeeGo powered Eee PC X101 netbook. Powered by an Intel Atom N435 at 1.33GHz, the 10.1” netbook comes equipped with the Intel-backed MeeGo operating system. The Eee PC X101H is another such model with the option for MeeGo or Microsoft Windows 7 operating system in addition to the choice between a hybrid hard drive or solid state drive. At 17.6mm thick, and weighing under 950g, the netbook is fairly small. IO (input/output) on the device(s) include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB, and a headphone jack.
Aside from notebooks, Asus showed off a tablet-docking concept phone and a 3D tablet. The Padfone is basically a larger screen and extra battery for your smartphone. Once your smartphone is connected inside the case and hidden, the tablet becomes a larger display and battery charger. The phone in turn, is able to share its 3G and Wi-Fi connections with the tablet.
The MeMO 3D tablet, on the other hand, is a 7” tablet with a 3D display at a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. The portrait device supports both multi-touch and capacitive stylus input. Android Honeycomb is the operating system of choice that powers the glasses-free 3D IPS display.
Asus has also announced a desktop All-In-One computer called the ET2700XVT which is 27” display coupled with a PC. Capabilities of the AIO include a digital TV tuner, HDMI-in, SyncMaster audio speakers, and optional 10-point multi-touch input.
In addition, the WAVI Xtion is 3D motion sensing technology much like that of Microsoft's Kinect. Asus hopes to combine this technology with computers and media centers. The Xtion Portal is a wireless home entertainment center for the living room. The device functions as a media playback box, web browser, app store, and game console. The game bundle includes MayaFit, Beat Booster, and DanceWall. Both the games and the interface is controlled via Kinect-like gestures.
For those wanting the “best of both worlds” in their tablet, they are in luck. ViewSonic’s newly announced ViewPad 10Pro combines the Android and Windows 7 operating systems into a 10” tablet. Powered by an Intel Z670 Oak Trail processor at 1.5GHz, the 800g tablet is capable of playing 1080p video, and has 32GB of onboard storage to hold all that media. The IO of the tablet includes a 3G and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi radio, bluetooth 2.1, Micro SD card, USB port, charging port, 3.5mm audio jack, and HDMI out.
NVIDIA recently unveiled a new four core CPU for mobile devices at Mobile World Congress which promises to power 2560x1600, 300 DPI displays as well as enable realistic dynamic lighting and physics in mobile games, features that until recently were only possible in the realm of gaming laptops and desktops.
The quad core ARM CPU has been paired with a new 12 core GeForce graphics processing unit. The CPU alone is able to outperform the older Tegra 2 chip by close to 2x. With the additional GPU cores; however, NVIDIA has even more performance, and the ability to implement great looking games for mobile tablets and so called “super phones.”
At a resolution of 1280x800 (according to Engadget), the new Kal-El graphics demo shows off a new game featuring a glowing ball that acts as a truly dynamic light source in addition to realistic cloth physics. Using all four processing cores of the CPU allowed NVIDIA to implement cloth that reacts to the changing gravity of the game in a dynamic- and very realistic looking- manner. The mobile chip saw approximately 80% usage across all cores during the game demo. When NVIDIA disabled two of the CPU cores, the game became nearly unplayable, with the two remaining cores maxed out, the demo’s frame rate dropped to below 15 frames per second.
The new “Tegra Super Chip” will certainly allow mobile game developers to design immersive and realistic looking worlds as well as enhancing consumers’ ability to watch 1080p HD video with ease. The only drawback of the chip seems to be that battery technology is much slower to advance than transistor technology; therefore, it will be interesting to see how the new NVIDIA chip performs in that regard.
Subject: Mobile | May 24, 2011 - 07:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, Thinkpad, X1
There is a lot to love about the ThinkPad X1, inside a Core i5-2520M @ 2.5 GHz (with Intel HD 3000 graphics of course) 4GB of DDR3 and a 7200RPM 320GB HDD powers a 13.4" 1366 x 768 LCD which is covered with Corning Gorilla glass. All that in a package weighing 3.73lbs and with dimensions of 13.26" x 9.1" x 0.84". Even the back plate is interesting, with a USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort port and a powered eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, in addition to the card reader and USB 2.0 ports. Unless you are married to the IPS LCD on the X220 TechSpot highly recommends this laptop.
“A couple of months ago we were checking out Lenovo’s then latest ThinkPad offering, the X220. Based on Intel’s second generation Core processors, this system was classic business-oriented ThinkPad throughout. A few months before the X220, I had the IdeaPad U260 in-house which was classified by Lenovo as a “thin, light, stylish travel companion”.
I mention those two units as a transition to what we have for review today, the new ThinkPad X1. As the thinnest ThinkPad ever, the X1 seemingly takes the best features from the X220 and the U260 and merges them into one. The result is an extremely thin and sleek 13.4” notebook that is a real follow-up model to the X300 series that many came to own and love a couple of years ago.”
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E220s Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Satellite M645-S4118X Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch 2011 Edition @ TweakTown
- Cooler Master NotePal LapAir Notebook Cooler Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Samsung Series 9 900X3A-A01CA Laptop Review - This May Be a Work of Art... Almost @ The SSD Review
- Acer Iconia Tab A500 Review @ t-break
- Motorola Xoom WiFi 32GB Review @ t-break
- Tablets- just not there yet @ t-break
- Motorola Atrix and lapdock video review @ The Inquirer
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (Verizon Wireless) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Smartphone, the abridged version: Ars reviews the HP Veer
- Otterbox Commuter and Impact Series Cases for the HTC EVO 4G Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Samsung Galaxy S II Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Review @ t-break
- Doro PhoneEasy 410gsm Cell Phone Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Mobile | May 21, 2011 - 07:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hardware, ECS, computex
ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) will be attending this years Computex 2011 convention, and they plan to unveil a slew of new hardware. During the week, they will be showing off new motherboards, a new graphics card, four All-In-One PCs, two tablets, two notebooks, and an eBook reader of all things.
For the DIY enthusiasts, ECS will be showing off a AMD 990FX chipset motherboard, which will support AMD's Bulldozer processors, as well as a new series of motherboards "for cloud computing, home server, (and) work station." While they were not willing to give out details at this time, they will have live high end gaming setups for attendees to demo at the show. Further, ECS is releasing a NVIDIA GeForce 560 graphics card. Again, they did not share any specifications, they claim that their card is 40% faster than its 460 predecessor.
All-In-One PCs will also be receiving a large showing at the ECS booth, with three SKUs of their "PC—G11" touch screen computer with wireless connectivity. The DS110, MS300, and MS150 specifically will provide different levels of performance thanks to three differing levels of hardware (they mention CPUs and chipsets).
On the mobile front, ECS is unveiling two tablets. The S10 is a 10.1" Atom Z670 tablet with a resolution of 1366x768 and HDMI out along with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and "3G or GPS." The V07 is a 7" tablet based on similar specifications that will be released in August 2011. The MB40 and MB50 are 14" and 15" Sandy Bridge powered notebooks with LED displays at 1366x768 and featuring a 6-in-1 card reader. Further, ECS is debuting a 6" and 8" touch screen eBook reader with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G. The eBook reader will feature either a monochrome or multicolor display, and will run the Android mobile operating system.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 20, 2011 - 06:04 AM | Scott Michaud
For those who desire an alternative to Windows 7 in their netbooks or Android in their tablet: The Linux Foundation, Intel, Nokia, Novell, and AMD are continuously developing an alternative mobile operating system based on Linux. While there are currently large doubts about how many participants are still active members in this project there must be someone still coding away because version 1.2 was released to the public.
- An updated Netbook “User Experience”
- An updated in-vehicle “User Experience”
- Developer preview for those wishing to install MeeGo on tablets
- And of course an updated SDK
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 18, 2011 - 09:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tegra, nvidia, kal-el, amazon
At the beginning of the month we reported that Amazon seems to be moving into the tablet space with an order for hundreds of thousands of touchscreens per month. There is now more evidence that the Kindle manufacturer is looking specifically to do an Android tablet due to the processors rumored to be included. We think you will be smiling very soon.
Roadrunner Stew: Water, Roadrunner, Diced Apple
Intel Talks Software And Demos Local File Syncing, Standby, And Hibernate Tech At Investor Meeting 2011
Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership. This installment focuses on the software side of things.
During the various keynotes that were held throughout the day for the Investor Meeting 2011, one ideal seemed to present itself in some form or another, and summarized the message Intel presented to the world. The idea was that of a consistent user experience across every computing platform accomplished by leveraging Intel software applications with Intel hardware advancements to deliver a productive and easy to use computing experience whether it is on a cell phone or a dual CPU production workstation. Intel is a market leader in micro-architecture and x86 processors, as well as in sold state drives and high performance computing. Soon, thanks to advancements in transistor technology, Intel will also have a large presence in the mobile market with low power x86 SoCs. Their dominance in desktop computing hardware, along with their good relations with many software developers allows the chip maker a great deal of influence in the technology industry. On the software side of things, Intel has a team of engineers who work inside Microsoft's closely with their software engineers to ensure that the popular operating system delivers a solid experience for x86, and specifically Intel, powered computers. Intel is also heavily invested in open source software and has helped in creating open source operating systems and applications. In the mobile market, Intel is still a proponent and developer of MeeGo, for instance.
This influence and investment in both hardware and software research and development has made Intel a leader in the technology industry. Intel plans to leverage this influence to deliver the most consistent user experience across all platforms, and the process has already begun. Intel has several software technologies that are capable of harnessing their architecture technology to make computers easier to use and more productive. They showed off three (new) pieces of such software during one of their keynotes, including PC Sync, and Fast Flash Standby which encompasses an active standby/sleep mode and fast recovery hibernation modes.
PC Sync is a program much akin to Dropbox in that it promises to keep all of the files that you select in sync between all of your different devices. David Perlmutter and a co-worker showed PC Sync working live as they synced files between two computers. The program differs from Dropbox; however, in the fact that it only works over your local network, and thus it is inherently more secure and faster than services that must first sync files to an Internet server before downloading to the target computer(s).
The other interesting software demonstrated was Intel's Fast Flash Standby technology. This software improves upon the traditional sleep and hibernation modes in Microsoft Windows. The standby mode will put the computer to sleep by saving the system state to RAM and entering a low power mode just like the standard Windows' affair; however, the software will also automatically wake up the system at periodic intervals to download updates such as email, tweets, and Facebook messages, and then will return the computer to its sleep state so that once the computer is woken, the system is already updated and ready to go. Intel has also improved upon the hibernation sleep mode by utilizing flash memory to greatly reduce the time necessary to enter hibernation and resume from the sleep mode. In the demo, the system state was saved to a fast flash drive, and not only did the computer quickly hibernate but it resumed from hibernation in 5 seconds.
Intel also talked about mobile software. Android and MeeGo are both software platforms that Intel is interested in powering with its mobile processors. The 7" tablet and concept smart phone they showed off were both running android. Intel's Senior Vice President and General Manager for its Software & Services Group, Renée J. James stated that Intel is well positioned to create an application ecosystem when it enters the mobile market, and that developers have stated that they plan to develop for them. Further, Renée stated that 90% of Android applications are a run-time and can easily be made to run on Intel's mobile devices.
Intel also addressed the shareholders' concerns of how Windows 8 on ARM would affect Intel. The Windows 8 SKU for ARM will be a ARM focused operating system, and will run ARM applications. The SKU will be well suited for ARM powered mobile devices where mobile and cloud applications can be used. On the other hand, there will also be a "full" Windows 8 with Windows 7 mode that will offer the full featured Windows experience, including backwards compatibility with legacy applications--which the ARM SKU will not offer. Because of this full featured Windows 8 operating system version is tailored for x86, Intel believes that it will have the "best of both worlds" for the consumers in being able to have the full fledged OS and ability to use existing Windows applications made for x86. Renée remained confident in Intel's continued position despite an OS version for ARM chips.
Further, Intel recognized its McAfee acquisition. The president of McAfee then took the stage to explain that the company was committed to delivering security products across the Intel line. He also stressed that with the ever increasing presence of malware on the Internet, the current method of security programs using "blacklisting" techniques was not sustainable. The cloud, he surmised, was both a security concern as well as a resource for security programs, and that he expects to have software that is backed by large Internet databases cataloging malware definitions to be the standard in the coming years until a technique stronger than blacklisting becomes usable.
For a hardware company, Intel has also delved heavily into software by working with developers and acquiring software companies. They recognize that it takes more than hardware to create a quality computing experience and only with the right balance of both hardware and software is a consistent user experience across all of their devices possible.
Intel Talks Mobile Hardware And Shows Off 32nm Medfield Android Smart Phone At Investor Meeting 2011
Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership. This installment focuses on the mobile hardware aspects.
Partway through the Intel Investor Meeting 2011, David Perlmutter stepped on stage for his keynote speech. As the Vice President and General Manager of the Intel Architecture Group, he delved into the advancements that Intel has made in smaller transistor manufacturing, and how those advancements will help Intel to break into the mobile and handheld computing market with low power and high performance SoCs (System on a Chip). During the meeting, Intel stated that it has always been known for performance, but not necessarily for being low power. With their recent advancements in moving to smaller manufacturing nodes; however, Intel has positioned itself to have power efficient processors that are low power and with power to deliver a fluid user experience in mobile devices. David explains that power efficency follows along with Moore's Law in that as the transistors get smaller (and with Intel's advancements such as 3D transistors), the chips become much more power efficient. With each successive shrink in manufacturing nodes, Intel has seen higher transistor switching speeds and lower current leakage compared to previous generations:
What as these new power efficent chips amount to, is Intel's new ability to break into the mobile market and become extremely competitive with the ARM architecture(s). David showed off two examples during the Investor Meeting 2011 in the form of an Android smart phone and 7" tablet powered by 32nm Medfield mobile chips.
The Medfield powered Android smart phone.
An Intel powered Android tablet that will be available to developers soon.
The phone is a hyper threaded, 32nm Intel Medfield mobile processor that runs the Android 2.x operating system and is poised to compete with the current dual core ARM powered smart phones. A dual core version of the mobile SoC is also planned in the future. When questioned if the rumored quad core ARM smart phones would pose a problem for Intel's planned single and dual core phones, David responded that the number of cores is only one aspect of performance, and is a measurement "much like megahertz was in the '90s" and hinted not to count Intel's processors out even when competing against quad core ARM processors.
The tablet did not recieve as much attention as the concept phone; however, we do know that it is capable of running Android Honeycomb, is 7", and will be powered by a very similar 32nm Medfield chip.
Intel projects that by 2015, not only will they have passed 14nm manufacturing nodes (which are planned for 2014) but the SoCs will have 10 times the graphics and computational power as their chips released this year.
From the keynotes at this year's meeting, Intel is both enthusiastic and confident in their ability to finally dive into the mobile market in force and become a heavywieght competitior to ARM. Their plans to bring the x86 instruction set and power sipping chips to the handset and netbook markets is a bold move, but if their projections hold true may result in a massive market share increase and further innovation in an even more competitive mobile market.
Subject: Mobile | May 16, 2011 - 08:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: open source, arduino, Android
During Google IO, Google announced for their Android cell phone operating system a new Open Accessory API. This API is currently supported on Android 2.3.4 and 3.1 (Honeycomb) for cell phones and tablets respectively. This Open Accessory API is a "complete solution" of hardware and software for an Android ADK (Android Accessory Development Kit). On the hardware side of things, Google's reference design uses an Arduino board as well as USB host circuitry from Circuits@Home. using the Google ADK or Open Accessory compatible boards from Microchip and RT Corporation compatible boards, developers are able to offer hardware accessories that are able to communicate over USB (and Bluetooth in the future) to software applications.
The interesting part about Open Accessory is that when first plugging an Android phone into an Open Accessory piece of hardware, the hardware is able to indicate to the phone what software applications it needs in order to interact with and be controlled by the phone.
According to Hugo Barra, “with the ADK, we are welcoming hardware developers into the Android community, and giving a path to building great Android accessories quickly and easily.” He emphasises that the openness of Android Open Accessory means that there are no NDAs, no licensing fees, and no approval process in building the hardware or accompanying software.
Along with the ADK comes Android@Home, which is a new open wireless protocol that will allow "every appliance in your home" to communicate with your android phone.
Google wants to ramp up the imaginations of developers, and encourage them to develop new methods of notification systems and more immersive game-play. Much as the popular Parrot AR.Drone has augmented reality gaming aspects, Google wants to encourage game developers to utilize Android@Home to make their games more immersive by using the environment. During the IO presentation, they demonstrated flickering lights while playing Quake which reacted to gunfire in the game.
By choosing to go open source for not only the software but the hardware behind the Android Open Accessory API, they will enable as many people with as many ideas as possible to have a chance to develop accessories for the Android platform. This freedom of imagination will encourage innovation, and in a competitive OS market, innovation is good for the consumer.
You can read more about the Arduino and how it may affect Apple's way of dealing with third party accessories over at Make.
Subject: Mobile | May 16, 2011 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: chrome, DIY, Chromium OS
If you can't wait for someone to release a mobile PC with the Chromium OS preinstalled, then why not pick up your own laptop and install Chromium yourself? ExtremeTech walks you through the process, from finding or making a build to install and installing it on a bootable USB device to moving that installation onto an internal drive. There are links to troubleshooting sites and they reveal that the default password seems to be facepunch.
"On June 15, Samsung and Acer will release the first consumer-oriented Chrome OS laptops, or Chromebooks as Google likes to call them. Both hardware- and software-wise, these netbooks are nothing special: You can download Chrome OS's open source brother, Chromium OS, for free -- and at around $400 for a Chromebook, you would certainly expect some better hardware than what Samsung and Acer are offering.
In fact, for around $300 you can get a cheaper and more powerful netbook with Windows 7 pre-installed -- and it only takes about 30 minutes to wipe Windows and install Chrome OS yourself. You'll end up with a better and cheaper Chromebook -- and to top it off, you'll have a spare Windows 7 license that you can give to your mom."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- CyberPower's X6-9300 and MSI's GT680R: Fighting for Your Mobile Gaming Dollar @ AnandTech
- Lenovo T420: The Ultimate Business Machine @ InsideHW
- Lenovo IdeaPad U260 Review @ t-break
- Sony Vaio F-Series @ The Inquirer
- Samsung NC110-A01 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP EliteBook 8460p: Everything But The Screen @ AnandTech
- HP ProBook 6360b Review @ TechReviewSource
- Cooler Master CM Storm SF-19 Strike Force Notebook Cooler Review @ eTeknix
- Targus Truss Leather iPad Case Review @ Tech-Reviews.co.uk
- Four bars? The disconnect between bars and cell signal @ Ars Technica
- LG Optimus 2X (G2x / P990) Android Phone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- HTC HD7: Now With NoDo @ AnandTech
- iPhone 4 Commuter Series Quick Look @ t-break
- iPhone 4 App Review: Type n Walk @ t-break
- HTC Incredible S: HTC at its Best @ InsideHW
- HTC Flyer review @ Engadget
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | May 14, 2011 - 02:34 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: udk, ios, game
Indie videogame developers have a great challenge keeping up with the industry. Technology is advancing quickly, the skills required to output games with the quality of the greatest developers keep diversifying, and the time required to detail each part keeps exploding. Though it is highly unlike that the next Call of Duty will come from a single person there are tool developers aiming to decrease the burden for projects of all sizes.
Do you think that was an onomatopoeia said by indie devs?
Epic Games released UDK in November 2009 to help developers make their own 3D PC games without needing to develop their own engine and associated toolset or needing to pay a hefty license fee up front. Since then, Epic has added support for iOS development to allow developers to create games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. New versions have come out on an approximately monthly basis and May is no different.
This release is incrementally better than previous builds with a few usability tweaks like grouping objects and modifying them together, the ability to copy and paste vertex coloring, and performance importing art assets. As usual a few dozen documentation pages were updated to reflect changes in the game engine. While UDK does not remove the pain of making a good game, it does soften the blow a lot, which is all we got thus far.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 10:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, conference call
NVIDIA made their quarterly conference call on May 12th which consisted of financial results up to May 1st and questions from financial analysts and investors. NVIDIA chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang projected that future revenue from the GPU market would be “flattish”, revenue from the professional market would be “flattish”, and revenue from the consumer market would be “uppish”. Huang did mention that he believes that the GPU market will grow in the future as GPUs become ever more prevalent.
How's the green giant doing this quarter? Read on for details.
For the professional market, NVIDIA discussed their intention to continue providing proof-of-concept applications to show the benefit of GPU acceleration which they hope will spur development of GPU accelerated code. Huang repetitively mentioned that the professional market desires abilities like simultaneous simulation and visualization and that a 10% code-rewrite would increase performance 500-1000%, but current uptake is not as fast as they would like. NVIDIA also hinted that GPUs will be pushed in the server space in the upcoming future but did not clarify on what that could be. NVIDIA could simply be stating that Tesla will continue to be a focus for them; they also could be hinting towards applications similar to what we have seen in recent open sourced projects.
For consumers, Huang made note of their presence in the Android market with their support of Honeycomb 3.1 and the upcoming Icecream Sandwich. Questions were posed about the lackluster sales of Tegra tablets but Huang responded stating that the first generation of tablets were deceptively undesirable due to cost of 3G service. He went on to say that the second wave of tablets will be cheaper and more available in retail stores with Wi-Fi only models more accessible to consumers.
nVihhhhhhhhhdia. (Image by Google)
The bulk of the conference call was centered on nVidia’s purchase of Icera though not a lot of details were released being that the purchase is yet to be finalized. The main points of note is that as of yet, while NVIDIA could integrate Icera’s modems onto their Tegra mobile processors, they have no intention of doing so. They also stated they currently have no intention of jumping into the other mobile chip markets such as GPS and near-field communications due to the lesser significance and greater number of competitors.
I think the new owners like the color on the logo.
The last point of note from the conference call was that they expect that Project Denver, NVIDIA’s ARM-based processor, to be about 2 generations away from accessible. They noted that they cannot comment for Microsoft but they do reiterate their support for Windows 8 and its introduction of the ARM architecture. The general theme throughout the call was that NVIDIA was confident in their position as a player in the industry. If each of their projects works out as they plan, it could be a very well justified attitude.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 04:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Netflix, Internet, Android
It has been a long time coming; however, Netflix Instant Streaming is finally coming to a select number of Android powered smart phones. Engadget has the scoop, stating that
“Netflix explains that while the app is currently limited to phones with ‘requisite playback support,’ it anticipates that many of the ‘technical challenges will be resolved in the coming months,’and that it will be able to ‘provide a Netflix application that will work on a large majority of Android phones.’”
The following phones will be able to use the streaming feature of the Netflix application: HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G, G2, and Samsung Nexus S.
While Nitdroid users and owners of older Android phones are currently out of luck, this move by Netflix is a good sign that Netflix on the open source operating system is possible, and can work well.
If you own one of the supported Android phones, you can download the application from the Android Market today!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 01:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: subscription, mobile, Chromebook
Maximum PC recently reported details regarding just what the Google Chromebook subscription will cost for the various models and what each subscription entails. While you can read about the Chromebook and the various subscriptions in this previous article, specific pricing for the subscriptions for each of the launch models are detailed below:
|Enterprise (monthly)||Education (monthly)||
Consumer (no subscription)
|Acer Chromebook (WiFi)||$28||$20||$349|
|Acer Chromebook (3G)||$31||$23||$TBA|
|Samsung Series 5 (WiFi)||$30||$20||$429|
|Samsung Series 5 (3G)||$33||$23||$499|
Futher details that were clairified regarded mobile data and minumum orders. Each subscription will include 100MB of 3G data with those Chromebooks that have 3G hardware. Also, in order to recieve a subscription contract, both businesses and schools must order a minimum of 10 devices.
Just as with cell phone plans, there are early termination fees for those schools and/or businesses that wish to back out of their contracts. Google has stated that the early termination fee will be equal to the remainder of their contract. For example, if a small business has twenty users and five months left on their contract, in order to get out of said contract, the business would need to pay $2800 if their users all had the base Acer WiFi model.
Needless to say, it would be smarter to just ride out the contract (if possible for the institution), because at least then the business would still retain support for the devices versus buying out the contract for the same amount of money and losing all support for their devices. It will be interesting to see if Google will hold businesses and schools to this ETF or if they will renege and change their policy to appear more enticing to the market.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 12, 2011 - 09:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, notebook, msi, computex
VR-Zone reports that MSI is gearing up for a large Computex showing, and will unveil 5 new mobile products to it's existing platforms.
Among the rumored launches are two tablets and three notebooks. On the tablet side of things, both a Tegra 2 and AMD Brazos powered tablet are in the works. The WindPad 100A will be powered by a Tegra 2 SoC and will run Android 2.3 in lieu of Honeycomb due to rumored hardware compatibilities. The AMD Brazos platform brings AMD's fusion processor and graphics to the mobile space. The WindPad 110W, the follow up to the Intel Atom powered 100W, will utilize the Brazos SoC running Windows 7.
As far as notebooks, the gaming lineup, C series, and X series will all see a refresh. The GT683 will be a 15" gaming notebook. The CX480 will update the C series with a rumored 14" form factor. Finally, MSI's thin and light notebook lineup will receive the X460.
VR-Zone further states that "MSI is also said to be losing interest in netbooks due to declining demand and is refocusing on its notebook products as the company is expecting a 10 to 15 percent growth in notebook shipments this year, not taking tablets into account."
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 12, 2011 - 05:52 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mobile, laptop, Chromebook
First there was the laptop. Then the notebook. The netbook is the most recent addition to mobile devices with hardware keyboards. That is, until today. Google has officially launched a new cloud OS based mobile device dubbed the ChromeBook.
As a netbook with an operating system that amounts to little more than a web browser, the device purports to not only match the functionality of a "normal" netbook, but surpass it thanks to file storage residing in the cloud, automatic updates to the OS, virtually unlimited applications, and an eight second boot time.
Google further states that the device is capable of all the promises feats while remaining secure. Security is accomplished by several independent strategies. The OS splits up system settings and user settings, and each ChromeBook allows only one "owner" per device. The owner is able to allow other users to log in to the device as well, whether it is with their Google account or as a guest. Guest Mode does not sync or cache data, and all system settings are kept out of the session, including network configuration. Each process is sandboxed in an effort to reduce the likely hood of cross-process attacks. Further, the browser and plugin processes are not given direct kernel interface access. Toolchain hardening seeks to limit exploit reliability and success. The file system has several restrictions, including a read-only root partition, tmpfs-based /tmp, and User home directories that can not have executable files.
Further, ChromeBooks utilize a secure automatic update system and Verified Boot that seeks to eliminate attacks tampering with the underlying code. All updates are downloaded over SSL, and are required to pass various integrity checks. The version number of updates is not allowed to regress, meaning that only updates with a version number higher than those already installed on the system are allowed to install. Further, on the next boot-up, the updates undergo a further integrity check in the form of what Google calls "Verified Boot."
According to Google, Verified Boot "provides a means of getting cryptographic assurances that the Linux kernel, non-volatile system memory, and the partition table are untampered with when the system starts up." The process depends on a "chain of trust" which is created using custom read-only firmware rather than a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) device. The read-only firmware checks the integrity of the writable firmware, and if it passes then the writable firmware is used to check the integrity of the next component in the boot up process. While Verified Boot does not protect against dedicated attackers, it does allow a safe recovery option when re-installing as well as detecting changes made by a successful run-time attack and files or write-able firmware changes made by an attacker with a bootable USB drive.
In future iterations of the OS, Google is pursuing driver sandboxing as well as implementing a secure method for auto-logins. Further, Google states that they are interested in pursuing biometric security if they are able to ensure their authentication software is secure when using low cost hardware. Also on the agenda is implementing a "single signon" system that would allow users to log into third party sites using credentials generated by their Google account.
Hardware running Chrome OS is not new, however. Google's CR-48 notebook has been in the wild for months, allowing thousands of users the chance to try out the new operating system and its accompanying hardware. Both Acer (11.6", $349) and Samsung (12.1", $429 wifi only) have stepped up to the plate and are offering ChromeBooks at launch. What is new; however, is the way in which users are able to purchase the hardware. While consumers will still be able to purchase a ChromeBook from retailers, Google has announced a new subscription option for school and business users. The new subscription service would allow students to receive a ChromeBook for $20 a month, while business users would pay $28 a month. In order to get the subscription price schools and businesses must enter into a three year contract. The subscription price includes the "hardware, operating system, updates and cloud-based management" along with online, email, and telephone support directly from Google. The monthly subscription further includes regular hardware refreshes.
It is apparent that Google sees its largest market for ChromeBooks as being large businesses and schools, which can then manage a fleet of ChromeBooks for their users for a much lower cost versus maintaining hundreds of traditional computers. While large IT departments are likely to see the cost benefits, It remains to be seen how consumers will react to this subscription based model. Subscriptions have become more prevalent, with the majority of the US using cell phones with monthly contracts. On the other hand, users --students especially-- are used to buying a computer outright. Will the lure of low cost subscription ChromeBooks be enough to break consumers' traditional thoughts on purchasing computers? Will students accept remotely administrated computers in exchange for a low cost subscription?
Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | May 10, 2011 - 01:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PowerVR, Intel, gpu, atom
In a surprising move, Intel plans to move away from using it's own graphics processors with the next "full fat" Atom processors. Intel has traditionally favored its own graphics chipsets; however, VR-Zone reports that Intel has extended it's licensing agreements with PowerVR to include certain GPU architectures.
These GPU licenses will allow Intel to implement a PowerVR SGX545 equivalent graphics core with its Cedarview Atom chips. While the PowerVR graphics core is no match for dedicated GPUs or likely that found in Intel's own Sandy Bridge "HD 3000" series, the hardware will allow Atom powered systems to play video with ease thanks to hardware accelerated decodding of "MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, VC1, WMV9 and the all-important H.264 codec." VR-Zone details the SGX545 GPU as being capable of "40 million triangles/s and 1Gpixles/s using a 64-bit bus" at the chips original 200mhz.
Intel plans to clock the mobile chips at 400mhz and the desktop graphics cores at 640mhz. The graphics cores will be capable of resolutions up to 1440x900 and supports VGA, HDMI 1.3a and Display Port 1.1 connections for video output. DirectX 10.1 support is also stated by VR-Zone to be supported by the SGX545, which means that the net-top versions of Atom may be capable of running the Aero desktop smoothly.
This integration by Intel of a GPU capable of hardware video acceleration will certainly make Nvidia's ION chipsets harder to justify for HTPC usage. ION chipsets will likely reliquish marketshare to cheaper stock Intel Atom platforms for basic home theater computers, but will still remain viable in the more specific market using ION + Atom chips as light gaming platforms in the living room.